How many people can our planet sustain? What is their relation to the environment and development? How does an over-populated earth affect human rights?
These are the questions pondered on World Population Day, which is held annually on 11 July.
You may not have heard of such a day before but it has been celebrated for almost three decades. This year the theme is Family Planning is a Human Right.
“Some 225 million women around the world want to avoid pregnancy but are not using safe and effective family planning methods like effective contraception. The reasons for this range from lack of access to information or services to lack of support from their partners or communities. Most of these women live in 69 of the poorest countries on earth,” says Deidré Penfold, Executive Director of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA).
Not only is access to safe, voluntary family planning a human right, but it is also central to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Above all it is a key factor in reducing poverty as proper family planning also leads to economic and other gains that can propel development forward.
The year 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of a conference that focused on family planning. In 1968, the International Conference on Human Rights was held and for the first time ever, family planning was affirmed to be a human right and that it is a basic right of parents to be able to decide on the number and spacing of their children.
On this special day we can all help raise awareness of population issues.
To work towards a prosperous life for all, we need to address family planning not only as humankind, or as a country, but also with our nearest and dearest. Fewer children means better education, a better future, a better life and a planet that can sustain us all, says Penfold.